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Things That May Go Wrong at a Wedding and How to Manage Them

Things that May Go Wrong at a Wedding
Despite all the planning, rehearsals and everything else that can be possibly done, some things 'do' go wrong in majority of the weddings. The only thing you can do is, be ready to handle small wedding mishaps, and have a plan B for worst case wedding day scenarios. For those who are getting ready to walk down the aisle, here's a list of things you should know beforehand.
Christie J.
Last Updated: Jun 7, 2017
While it's a universally accepted fact that a perfect wedding is everyone's dream and nobody's reality, planning well for 'The Day' takes you many steps closer to your dream wedding. For the rest, you can try to prevent certain wedding day disasters and gracefully manage wedding day mishaps in a way that no one (but you and a few close friends), knows what, if anything went wrong. Given below are the most common small mishaps and worst case scenarios at a wedding, ways to manage disasters on the day of the wedding, and tips to properly plan your wedding.
Wedding Day Mishaps
Before you read any further, know that your wedding 'mishaps' are the ones that are going to make your wedding truly memorable (for wrong or right reasons, depending on how you handle them). Besides, no one is going to know that the centerpiece was supposed to have shades of baby pink in it or that the dessert served was not what you ordered, unless you tell them. Now, go through the given list and if any of these happen on your wedding day, cover them up quickly or make them your style statement without alerting your wedding guests.
  • Wrong Names: It is not uncommon for misprinted names to be found on a wedding invitation. The situation gets more uncomfortable if the Master of Ceremonies (MC), the wedding announcer, or even the wedding officiant reads out the wrong name.
  • Disrupted Schedule: A wedding known for tardiness or for being out-of-schedule, is not something that anyone wants, but many carry such 'tardy' wedding memories. Sometimes, the order of the wedding ceremonies have to be altered because a particular person (maybe the maid of honor or the best man) or thing (like a wedding cake) is missing or running late.
  • Dress Disasters: This is the most common and most frequent wedding day mishap that can occur if the dress (usually of the bridal party) is delivered late, has fitting problems (can be tight or loose), tears or rips at the seams while putting it on, gets stained, the zipper goes on the fritz, someone steps on the wedding dress (could be you!), etc.
Bride getting ready
  • Shoe Problems: There are only three things that can go wrong with wedding shoes: it gets misplaced, doesn't fit or gets damaged (especially the heels on the bride's or her bridesmaid's sandals).
Bride fitting shoes
  • Dizzy Bride: Amidst all the wedding preparations, excitement and stress, it is not unusual for a stressed-out bride to feel faint, have a headache, breakdown in tears, become very cranky or get panicky. Other bride related mishaps include: breakout a night before the wedding, swollen eyes or adverse effects of a beauty treatment or medicine.
  • Makeup Issues: A wedding day is one time when you want to look, not just good or your best, but THE best. Things can go wrong with your planned wedding look when: the makeup artist is late or does not show up, there's a mess of your hairdo or the makeup or you have a makeup melt down (due to rain, heat or emotions!).
Wedding make up
  • Decor Hassles: In almost all weddings, there are one or more décor troubles: wrong flower arrangements, poor lighting, incorrect or unseemly linens and table cloth, missing or damaged décor items (like runners or centerpieces), the list is endless and unique to each wedding.
  • Music Misery: The music at a wedding can go wrong in any number of ways: a DJ who doesn't show up, an inexperienced or a know-it-all DJ, inappropriate, mismatched or unrequested music.
  • Food Problems: Sometimes, despite all your efforts and precautions to give a pleasant feast to your wedding party, you can land up with a messed-up menu, 'upgraded' dishes (which you don't want) or low-quality food. The wedding cake needs a special mention here because anything can go wrong with it: it topples from its place, gets smashed, the wedding cake you want is out of stock or not available (mostly happens in destination weddings).
  • Guest Troubles: Every wedding (except the ones which employ bouncers), is graced with 'uninvited' or guests who haven't replied to an RSVP. In some cases, these 'extra' guests become a source of inconvenience to others. Then there are the unfriendly guests who give out-of-place responses or act as joy dampers (mostly the spotlight hogger) and the usual drunk guests who can be great entertainers at times and spoilsports at others.
  • Wedding Favor Failures: Another thing to look out for is untimely, faulty or misprinted wedding favors. Quite often, the wedding guests leave behind wedding favors, intentionally (they dislike it, already have or are allergic to it, etc.,) or unintentionally (they don't know they can take it home or they just plain forget it).
  • Weather Woes: This is one problem that is very prominent in outdoor weddings and there's not much you can do about it. Unexpected rain, excess heat or even storms and strong winds are known to have disrupted more than a few weddings.
Newlywed holding umbrella
  • Booking Confusion: In some weddings, the hotel or venue bookings get doubly booked or mysteriously canceled. There are times when you expect your wedding venue or hotel officials to provide you certain services, but you are left disappointed and stranded (because they didn't have it in the first place or it is unavailable now). Travel arrangements is another thing you can never be sure of (shortage or delay of transport vehicles are common occurrences at most weddings).
  • Fussy Wedding Helpers: People you have hired for delegated tasks might cause a problem if they don't turn up, make a late entry, are unwilling to accommodate changes, go back on their words or do a sloppy work. Wedding officiant, photographers, makeup artists, caterers or even cranky ring bearers and flower girls are a part of this special wedding list.
  • Missing Wedding Rings: The reason why missing wedding rings need a special mention is because wedding rings are known to have escaped stringent surveillance. No matter who has the responsibility to safeguard and present the wedding rings, they can go missing (often because some friend or family member had the sudden urge to take a 'peek' before the ceremony).
Managing Wedding Day Disasters
Some of the mishaps mentioned above (and those left out) are beyond your control (believe it or not, you cannot control the weather!). In such situations, you have two options: freak out (cry, yell or frown through your wedding) or do some quick, effective 'wedding disaster management' with aplomb and dignified grace. If you think the second option suits you best, here are some helpful tips.
Golden wedding rings
  • The first important thing for managing wedding day disasters is to be prepared. Ask your maid of honor to carry an emergency kit which should have your medications, safety pins, adhesives (super glue, regular tape, double stick tape), toiletries, hairspray, comb, lotions, deodorants, perfumes, makeup items, eatables (snack bar, crackers and mints), tissues and hand towels, extra pair of matching jewelry, lipstick and nail polish, eye drops, stain remover wipes, mending kit, baby wipes and white chalk (very important).
  • Leave a person you trust (a wedding planner, friend or family member) to handle wedding day mishaps and disasters so you can participate in your wedding celebrations.
  • Keep a time margin for everyone and insist that everyone stick to it religiously. As much as possible, bring all the essential items before time and store them in a proper place. Remember it is better to be early than late.
  • In case you having dress problems, use safety pins or the sewing kit to tuck the loose ends, remove one line of the outside seam and then sew it up. In the worst case scenario, you might have to buy a new dress from a nearby store.
Back of wedding dress
  • Don't keep anything that might stain (colored liquids, chocolates, etc.), in the dressing room and have only the people you need in the dressing room. Crowd equals to mess, and mess equals to mishaps.
  • Keep the weather in mind while deciding on the makeup. If for some reason the makeup is ruined and you cannot take a break, discreetly remove it using baby wipes (take the help of your maid of honor or else you might end up ruining your look more).
  • Use eye drops to remove redness in the eye and special eye cream (not ice - it will dry your eyes and make them itchy) to reduce swollen eyes.
  • Use a stain remover wipe or a white chalk to get rid of dress stains at the wedding ceremony or the wedding reception. So either carry them with you or ask someone else to do it for you.
  • Request the organizer at the wedding venue (or the caterer) to arrange extra chairs for extra guests.
  • As far as possible, ignore the disruptive guests, and if they still continue doing their things, ask a close friend to have a discreet chat with them or their companions.
  • Give out slices of 'secretly' cut regular cream cake if your wedding cake is smashed or delivered late.
  • If your DJ puts up a no-show or is late, connect an iPod or MP3 player or if there is a singer among your family or friends, ask them to sing without instruments while something else is being arranged.
  • Give out umbrellas and hand towels for when it rains. If you can, ask a few volunteers to aid the wedding guests in making trips.
  • For things only you know went wrong, smile and pretend as if it was always a part of your plan!
Proper Wedding Day Planning
The most (and the only) important thing you can do to have a dream wedding is plan out the whole thing and then execute it in the best way you can. Because of the wedding mishaps you might have on the wedding day, you don't have to throw your hands up and say it's never going to work your way so why strive. You are right, there is no point in striving but there is a huge reward in trying. For starters, you will be more prepared, more in control and when anything goes wrong, you will know where to turn for help. All you have to do is follow some tips for wedding planning and preparation.
Wedding place setting
  • Go With the Flow: Your wedding day is not the time to 'experiment'. So don't try a new beauty treatment or order a dish you are not sure of just because some say it worked for them. There is comfort in familiarity. It does not mean that you do what everyone does, it merely is a caution against things that can turn out either way. You will be more at peace knowing what to expect than anticipating any 'surprises' that might be closer to a shock. If you still want something different, have a trial (even for food dishes) at least a few days before the wedding day.
  • Hire With Care: For any service (right from the wedding officiant to the valet), know whom you are hiring. Take an interview, ask for references, acquaint yourself with the liability policy and the consequence of violating your wishes, in short look before you leap. When you are sure you want to go ahead, be specific and firm (with extra emphasis on exceptions like things you absolutely detest or don't want, food allergies, religious requirements, etc.) in stating what you want till the opposite person has clearly understood your wedding expectations. Then put every tiny detail that you discuss in writing and get it signed by the concerned person. For any future changes, keep only one point of contact so that there are no confusing instructions or blame games later on.
  • United Wedding Stands: The worst thing you can do is trying to make your wedding a one-man (or woman) show. You need help. It can come from friends and family or hired from outside. But don't go overboard - chances are you might not remember who was left in-charge of the wedding runners. Have a core team (people you can trust with your life), and inner circle (people you know won't let you down) and the fringe men (people you, or your core, think can be trusted). Keep in constant touch with the core, ask the core to supervise the inner circle while you look into their work sometimes and leave the fringe men completely under the care of the core.
Bride with wedding planner
  • Wish Upon a List: For your wedding, make friends with 'Lists'. List has a group of friends called the Wedding Checklist (enables you to keep a tab on the wedding preparations), Photo Shoot List (doesn't let you forget any wedding shot you want), Menu List (makes it easier to check on the food before the wedding guests arrive), Music List (so that you and your wedding party are not left at the mercy of the DJ's tastes and whims). The best part is you can make 'clones' of these lists to assist you, your helper and the concerned persons and no one will 'forget' your wedding day expectations. (Just don't misplace them because they will be of no use if found after the wedding.)
  • Rehearsal Makes Perfect: Try out everything you are going to use on the day of your wedding; as far as possible, a night before the wedding day. If anyone in your bridal party has made even slight alterations in the dress, have a trial again, preferably in the store or with the tailor. This applies to even the groom and his groomsmen (you don't want the best man in a tux one size too big at the altar!). Try out any new hairstyle or makeup well in advance so you don't need to discover new ways for looking the way you want to.
  • Beloved Plan B: No matter which part of the wedding you are planning, have a contingency plan ready. Where possible put the Plan B in motion and if not, be ready with contacts whom you can approach when a particular need arises. For instance, take the contact number of local bakeries whom you can contact in case of a wedding cake mishap. Make provision for umbrellas, shelters or tents if you are not sure of the weather in an outdoor wedding. Order extra wedding favors, add 5 (or more) members to the number of your guests. Contact and confirm all orders and invited guests.
Wedding cake figurine
For most people, especially the brides, their wedding day is very close to their heart and something that they have planned for a long time. But in the quest to make your wedding, the wedding of your dreams, don't forget the real reason for the wedding day: your marriage. So keep yourself calm, and enjoy even the seemingly 'bad' experiences. If not, the one thing you are sure to regret more than the wedding day mishaps and disasters is, wasting time fretting over things instead of participating in the joy and celebration of your wedding.